Pool safety for sum­mer

Joondalup Times - - OPINION -

STATEWIDE with Act­ing Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner David Hill­yard AS the weather warms up, many of us start think­ing about tak­ing a re­fresh­ing dip in our back­yard pools but we all need to be aware of po­ten­tial haz­ards and rel­e­vant laws to keep chil­dren safe around the wa­ter all year round.

The re­cently re­leased 2017 WA Om­buds­man’s re­port, In­ves­ti­ga­tion into ways to pre­vent or re­duce deaths of chil­dren by drown­ing, showed that pri­vate swim­ming pools were the most com­mon lo­ca­tion of fa­tal and non-fa­tal drown­ing in­ci­dents in WA.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, dur­ing a six-year pe­riod, 34 chil­dren died by ac­ci­den­tal drown­ing, while 258 chil­dren were ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal and 2310 chil­dren at­tended an emer­gency depart­ment.

In WA, there are spe­cific laws that man­date the in­stal­la­tion of fenc­ing to en­close pri­vate swim­ming pools and spas. Swim­ming pools or spas that con­tain wa­ter deeper than 300mm must be se­cured by iso­la­tion fenc­ing with the cor­rect lock­ing mech­a­nisms on gates.

The fenc­ing re­quire­ments are in­tended to pro­tect young chil­dren by re­strict­ing their ac­cess to the pool or spa area. Most fa­tal drown­ing in­ci­dents in pri­vate swim­ming pools oc­cur where there is no bar­rier, or there is a faulty bar­rier.

While own­ers and oc­cu­piers are both re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that any fence or bar­rier is main­tained and op­er­at­ing ef­fec­tively, in rental prop­er­ties it is ul­ti­mately the owner’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that the bar­ri­ers pro­vided are ad­e­quate.

Ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren about wa­ter safety is also im­por­tant: teach kids safety rules around wa­ter, in­clud­ing that they should never swim with­out an adult.

Our web­site in­cludes pool and prod­uct safety in­for­ma­tion. More in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing pool fenc­ing safety ad­vice for rental prop­erty own­ers and man­agers, is also avail­able at www.con­sumer­pro­tec­tion.wa.gov.au, or by call­ing 1300 30 40 54 or email­ing con­sumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au.

De­tailed wa­ter safety guide­lines are also avail­able from the Royal Life Sav­ing So­ci­ety WA at www.roy­al­life­sav­ingwa.com.au.

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